NZ Rugby World

NZ Rugby World October7November 2019

New Zealand Rugby World is the premier authority on our national game; with sharp analysis and irreverent humour the two key components. In both style and content the writing is award winning and provides an unparalleled depth of insight into the people who play the game and the issues that matter to the fans. The cast of contributors is world class as is the photography and lay-out. Pick this magazine up and you won't want to put it down - rugby has never been so much fun.

New Zealand
Langhills Publishing Ltd
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
editor’s letter

THE HEADLINES, MAYBE NOT SURPRISINGLY, called the All Blacks World Cup selection ruthless. That was maybe over selling things, but there was one major surprise that showed the All Blacks coaches have no qualms about making tough calls. Veteran prop Owen Franks was omitted and no one saw that coming. His 108 tests were not enough to save him. His undoubted scrummaging prowess was not enough to persuade the All Blacks coaches that he should go to Japan. And instead, the All Blacks picked five props who between them, don’t have the same total of caps as Franks. To some, the non-selection of Franks is a risk the coaches may regret taking. Experience is a high value commodity at World Cups. The stats show that old heads deliver more than young legs at the World Cup.…

8 min.
world rugby bags world rankings

Even World Rugby thinks their world rankings make no sense and need to be changed. There was widespread surprise when the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 36-0 and the next day lost their world number one ranking to Wales who had beaten England. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he didn’t think the system made any sense and it turns out he has an ally in that, as World Rugby deputy chairman Gus Pichot agrees. “It is a ranking that is badly done and I said it the first day I arrived at World Rugby,” he said. “It has no order, it is all mathematical and I would say that it is almost a matter of marketing. “Argentina, for example, plays all the games with the first three [New Zealand, Australia and South Africa] and…

5 min.
the hard slog of favouritism

WINNING BACK-TO-BACK World Cups ain’t easy. So what does that make trying to win back-to-back-to-back? No matter how good a team is, it’s hard to stay on top when there’s a big target on your back, when others are putting such a huge emphasis on negating your strengths, exploiting any sniff of a weakness. Meantime, great players come and go, some of whose influence simply can’t be replaced, no matter how talented the latest batch out of the nursery are, no matter how much thought the coaches put into trying to stay ahead of the pack. Add to that, the prospect of Japan 2019 actually living up to the tag of the toughest, most open World Cup yet. Of course they’ve said that about pretty much every other tournament, although it has never really…

5 min.
black to the future

PROPS The All Blacks were able to pick six capped props in their initial squad of 39, as well as Atu Moli and know they still have the emerging Tyrel Lomax and the injured Kane Hames and Tim Perry in reserve. The depth is impressive and while Owen Franks was surprisingly left out of the World Cup squad, his experience and scrummaging ability would still be nice for the All Blacks to have next year. Still, Nepo Laulala has the potential to grow his game, as does Ofa Tuungafasi and the most important thing is that next year, the All Blacks will have a range of tight-heads they can use, all of whom have had test experience. HOOKERS Now that Dane Coles has recovered his best form and committed for another two years, the All…

16 min.
sense and sensibility

There was a bit of madness in the midst of the Bledisloe Cup that made it difficult to know whether the All Blacks are all but broken, on track with a re-build or simply making things up as they went along with no real plan. It can often be like this in the build-up to a World Cup. It's a difficult period to assess because the serious contenders are all trying to build towards the tournament so they take selection risks, introduce new plays while holding other things back and don't mind about results the way they normally do. For the All Blacks, the immediate pre-World Cup period has been particularly volatile in the recent past. In 2011 they lost to South Africa in the Tri Nations and then suffered a consecutive…

20 min.
25 things we learned before the world cup

01 The All Blacks haven’t lost their ability to respond to pressure. There are few teams in the world that react better to being pushed into a corner and told they have to fight their way out. They were under genuine pressure ahead of the second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park. They began 2019 with an unconvincing victory against Argentina albeit with a largely second-string team. A draw with the Boks came next and then a record loss to the Wallabies left them in dire need of a big performance in Auckland not just to retain the Bledisloe, but to reassure everyone they weren’t in terminal decline. The knives were out after the loss in Perth. Some critics said they were too old. Others reckoned Steve Hansen had lost faith in his…